CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH LITERARY RELATIONS
[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]
189. BREWER, D[EREK] S. "The Relationship of Chaucer to the English and European Traditions." In Chaucer and Chaucerians: Critical Studies in Middle English Literature. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons; University: University of Alabama Press, 1966. Reprint. Norwich: Nelson's University Paperbacks, 1970, pp. 1-38. Reprinted in Chaucer: The Poet as Storyteller (London: Macmillan Press, 1984), pp. 8-36.
Surveys the socio-linguistic conditions that fostered Chaucer's poetic style and language, concentrating upon the influence of English lyrics and metrical romances and the development of a learned English style. Discusses Chaucer's innovative vocabulary in relation to current French and English usage.
190. FISHER, JOHN H. John Gower: Moral Philosopher and Friend of Chaucer. New York: New York University Press, 1964, 388 pp.
Explores the significant parallels between Chaucer's and John Gower's poetic careers, first describing Gower's career and art, and then demonstrating the influence Gower had on Chaucer. As a "sort of a conscience" to the younger poet, Gower encouraged Chaucer's shift from courtly poetry to social criticism. The eagle of Chaucer's House of Fame represents Gower, Troilus and Criseyde is dedicated to him and Ralph Strode, and Legend of Good Women and Gower's Confessio Amantis "appear to stem from the same royal command." But Chaucer's debt and the moral proximity of the two men is most evident in Canterbury Tales, where Chaucer's use of estates satire recalls Gower's Vox Clamantis and Miroir de l'omme, particularly in the General Prologue and in the figures of the Man of Law and the Wife of Bath.
191. KIRK, ELIZABETH D. "Chaucer and His English Contemporaries." In Geoffrey Chaucer: A Collection of Original Essays. Edited by George Economou. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975, pp. 111-27.
Assesses Chaucer's style in light of his contemporaries. Gower's "plain style" and formal precision, the intense social consciousness of Langland's Piers Plowman, and the poetic density of Pearl-poet help us recognize Chaucer's balance of allegory, mimesis, and poetic compression. Contemporary "bad" poetry indicates, by contrast, Chaucer's successful fashioning of a common language to characterize his speakers.
192. SALTER, ELIZABETH. "Chaucer and Medieval English Tradition." In Fourteenth-Century Poetry: Contexts and Readings. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983, pp. 117-40.
Places Chaucer in the context of "late Gothic" Middle English verse and distinguishes him from his contemporaries by his self-conscious use of the vernacular, his experimentation in House of Fame, and his appropriation of diverse Continental sources in Parliament of Fowls.
See also entries 8, 55, 104, 117-18, 120, 129, 134, 151-52, 182, 201, 312, 337, 807.
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